Duration: 19 nights / 20 days.
Best Months to do this Trek: March – May, September – 2nd Week of December.
Day 01 Arrive Paro 2280 meters (By Druk Air):
- Our guide will greet you on arrival,
- After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower,
- The Paro Rimpung Dzong, the center of civil and religious authority in this valley.
- A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge.
- A short distance further is one of the innumerable archery grounds (Archery is the national sport of Bhutan). If we are lucky, we may catch a match in action
Day 02 Paro 2280 meters:
- Drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal,
- Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back,
- Visit Kichu Lhakhang that was built in 659 by the Tibetan King Songsen Gampo.
- The evening ends with a walk through Paro’s main shopping district.
Day 03 Paro 2280 meters: Excursion to Taktsang Monastery:
- A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery,
- This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 m into the valley below.
- Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress.
- Visit to Tachog Lhakhang and a Bhutanese Farm House.
Day 04 Paro – Shana (Start of Trek):
- Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong at 2580 meters following the Paro river and we pass cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages.
- The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly coloured butterflies.
- Overnight at camp Shana.
Day 05 Shana – Thangthangka:
- The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses.
- It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage.
- We pass a junction enroute, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet.
- Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter.
Day 06 Thangthangka – Jangothang:
- In the morning after passing a small army post, the trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen.
- Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m).
- High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions.
Day 07 Jangothang: Rest day at Jangothang, enjoy the superb view all around.
For Day hikes, you have 3 options on this day at Jangothang.
- Hike to Jumolhari Glacier which is around 4 ½ hours (Back and forth)
- Hike to Jichu Drake Glacier which is around 3 hours (Back and Forth).
- Walk up the mountain between Jumolhari and Jichu Drake, the summit is at 5200 meters with a great view of both the mountains. This is 8 hours (Back and forth).
Day 08 Jangothang – Lingshi:
- We start today’s walk with spectacular views of the Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and the Tserim Gang.
- We start climbing straight away and after some 3 to 4 hours reach the Nyelela pass (4,700 m). After the pass we descend to a circular hut just below Lingshi, where we camp. Coming down from Lingshi we obtain our first views of the truly mystical Dzong atop a high hill.
Day 09 Lingshi – Chebisa:
- This is a magical day. Leaving Lingshi behind we gently climb gently to reach another delightful village, Gom Yu, which is set right below a 300 m cliff.
- Another hour’s walk brings us to a lovely little valley with a huge waterfall at one end of the Shangri La village of Chebisa, where we camp by the side of the river.
- The walk is very leisurely with plenty of reasons and opportunities to linger.
Day 10 Chebisa – Shomuthang:
- We start with quite a stiff climb through high pastures up the Gokula pass (4,320 m) before we drop through forests of dwarf rhododendron.
- We climb gradually and head down to the camp near a riverbed.
Day11 Shomuthang – Robluthang:
- A long haul over the Jarela pass at 4,640 m where we once again get stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains above us.
- We drop steeply down a forest trail to the Tsarigathang valley, where herds of Takin roam, then cross a knee deep river before climbing up Robluthang where we camp.
Day 12 Robluthang – Lemithang:
- This is one of the hardest days of the trek.
- We climb slowly up to Shinchela pass at 4,870 m. and are rewarded with stunning views of mountains, including the spectacular Gang Chen Ta at the head of the valley.
- On a clear day practically all the mountains on the northern border are visible. Eagles, griffin vultures, blue sheep and yaks abound in this area.
- We descend down to camp on a lovely spot by the riverbank.
Day 13 Lemithang – Laya:
- We walk along the river, one of the tributaries of the Mochu and through a forest of rhododendron and silver fir and then enter the village of Laya.
- The people of Laya are famous for their vertical stripe yak hair clothing and their strange conical bamboo hats.
- The women wear their hair long and with great deal of turquoise and jade jewelry.
- The features of the people are even more Tibetan/ Mongolian than the Bhutanese who live in the central valleys.
- The rest of the day is spent at leisure or visiting village houses and mixing with the villagers. Good views of the Masagang and the other peaks.
Day 14 Laya (Halt):
- We have a rest day at Laya and an opportunity to meet the local people.
Day 15 Laya – Koena:
- The rail winds along the river valley offers breathtaking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls.
- Over night in camp.
Day 16 Koena – Gasa Tsachu:
- We gradually climb up to Balela pass at 3,740 m and then descend to Gasa village.
- The first sight of the Gasa Dzong perched on the hillside over the village is one of the sights of the trip.
- We then drop steeply down to the river for an hour and camp near the Hot Spring a chance for a good, hot bath!
Day 17 Gasa Tsachu – Goen Damji – Punakha (End of Trek):
- After the climb away from Gasa Tsachu the trail winds through rolling hillsides with the vista of fields, villages and forests of oak and pine. Gasa Dzong will be visible behind you glued to the valley wall, seeming afloat in space.
- The trail descends from the high agricultural benches above the Mochu into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees, creepers and the sight of an occasional monkey.
- The vehicle will pick you up at Damji and drive to Punakha (2 hours).
- Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 18 Punakha -Thimphu:(72 Kms)
- After breakfast, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river).
- After lunch, drive to Thimphu. Enroute visit Chimi Lhakhang also called Temple of Fertility built by Lama Drukpa kuenley in 17th century.
Day 19 Thimphu sightseeing:
- The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk,
- The Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.
- We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts,
- And the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls).
- Visit to the Tallest Statue of Buddha in the world,
- Witness Archery Match. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong,
- Finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu.
Day 20 Departure:
- Early Morning, drive to the airport and farewell.